Orange 9mm Pretend I'm Human

It must be frustrating to be Orange 9mm. I mean, here you are dutifully pumping out cutting edge rap metal for the better part of the ‘90s only to have talentless goofs like Korn and Limp Bizkit taking all the glory. But if there's any justice at all, O9mm's third album, their fifth release in all, will bring the New York crew the props they so rightly deserve. Pared down to a trio with Taylor McLam doing double duty on bass and guitar, Pretend I'm Human finds the band blazing trails into bold new territory while retaining the churning sonic wallop that they've consistently delivered since their Revelation debut. Although the record opens with a pretty standard rap metal mosh anthem ("When You Lie"), by the second track it's obvious this isn't going to be some kind of Rage Against the Korny Bizkitz outing; "Lifeless" with it's Busta Rhymes meets Quicksand sound and "Touching Skies," which may be the best, if not the only, rap-metal power ballad ever, are proof of this. Not to be lost in the mix are vocalist Chaka Malik and drummer Matt Cross, who do their duty to bring McLam's edgy sonics to screaming life. Forget what those other lame-ass pretenders peddle as groove-oriented heavy rock. This is the real deal. (Ng Records)